Lafayette And Louisiana Leaders React To President Obama’s State Of The Union Address
President Obama gave his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, talking about jobs for the future and the government's role in that, calling for an increase in the minimum wage and climate change, among other issues.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) says, in his speech, the President "doubled down on failed policies from the past while outlining his shortsighted vision for the future." Gov. Jindal went on to criticize Pres. Obama's view of government and its role:
This President believes in pro-growth policies, but the problem is this - he believes in growing the government economy, not the private sector economy. We've had four years of growing government, and the results have been disastrous. It is liberalism run amok.
In the U.S. Senate, Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican David Vitter agreed that the President was right to focus on jobs and the economy. In Landrieu's response, she says "while this recession is in our rearview mirror, we still need to do a lot of work to fully put it behind us." But Vitter went on to criticize Obama:
I think everything he's talking about is the same-old, same-old - more government programs and 'investment', code word for spending. For instance, if you look at how he wants to avoid sequestration, it's more taxes and more spending.
Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany (R) was very discouraged by the President's speech, saying "the President and I could not disagree more on the solutions needed to move our country forward." He noted President Obama's "failed stimulus package and government efforts to jump start the economy" as failed approaches to fixing our economy and says the President's speech "promot(ed) a government-centric vision for America rather than empowering small business and unleashing America's potential for economic growth."
In his speech, President Obama also urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.00 an hour. That's something that Louisiana Democratic Party spokesperson Stephen Handwerk supports, saying it's not right that minimum wage workers are trying to support a family on such a low wage:
Someone who works hard for a living shouldn't be at the poorest of the poor. I think that that's a concept that I would hope all Americans can get around.
But Republican Congressman John Fleming says the proposal will lead to fewer jobs for entry level workers:
So all we're gonna do by raising the minimum wage is to reduce jobs, reduce employment opportunities and take away the chance that young people can get into the system and work their way up.
The President also addressed climate change, also known as global warming. He said 12 of the hottest years on record have occurred within the last 15 years. Handwerk says it's good the President is taking a stand to lower carbon emissions, saying "this is something that we can actually get behind because we know we can utilize natural gas in a better way, and we know that we can make investments in solar and wind and other ways to power our country." But Fleming was bothered by the President's comments, saying "to point out such things as Hurricane Sandy as proof of global warming is absurd. We've had tornadoes, we've had hurricanes, we've had all sorts of weather events for eons." The President also said last night that if Congress doesn't act, he'll use executive authority to fight climate change.